Ottawa tables back-to-work bill to end Montreal port strike

Federal Labor Minister Filomena Tassi on Tuesday tabled a bill to put an end to the strike involving 1,150 longshoremen at the Port of Montreal. The dock workers have been on strike since Monday morning. The legislation is set to be debated Tuesday afternoon.

It would require employees to return to work after the bill passes, and extend their previous collective agreement until a new one is negotiated, the CBC reported. 

A bill has been tabled in parliament to require Port of Montreal employees to return to work. (Photo: Port of Montreal)

It would also prevent any strikes or lockouts until a new agreement is signed, and impose a mediator-arbitrator on both parties if negotiations fail again. A mediation session took place Monday, shortly after the strike began, but the union said the government’s intention to legislate has killed the employer’s incentive to reach a deal. The union reacted to the tabling of the legislation almost immediately, calling it “an affront to all workers in the country.”

In a news release, the Quebec director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Marc Ranger, said the Liberal government was simply following the Maritime Employers Association’s wishes. “Fundamental rights are being violated.

It is shameful for a government that calls itself a defender of the middle class,” Ranger said.